I’m Alive and Back from DevDays & TechDays Europe

Jet lag, busy, busy, busy, busy, busy. That’s been my week so far preparing all the awesome content we have in store for you for Monday’s Visual Studio 2010 launch! Unfortunately this week has also taken me away from blogging and I have some fun stories from DevDays Netherlands and TechDays Belgium where I spoke last week. Alan and I then took a couple days over the weekend to tour Belgium so I got some cool pictures (and drank some good beer) too.


I’ve been to the Netherlands many times, this trip was my 5th time flying into Amsterdam. This time I got to travel to a city that I had never been to, The Hauge (Den Haag), which I think is the third largest city in the Netherlands. I didn’t get to see too much of the city itself though because I was at the conference the whole time. And what a show! There was probably close to 2000 developers there. The venue was at the World Forum and it was a big venue with some big theater-style seating. I must admit that even though I’ve been speaking at conferences for over 10 years it made me nervous when I saw how big the main theater was. Luckily the rooms where I had my 2 talks were much smaller!

I was invited to deliver some talks on Visual Basic and the VBCentral community was represented well in the community area of the exhibit hall. The talks I did were not on shiny new Visual Studio 2010 features but rather LINQ to XML and Open XML in Office 2010. I’ve done these talks many times before but it was fun dusting them off and upgrading the demos to work with Visual Studio 2010 and .NET Framework 4.

Conquering XML with LINQ in Visual Basic 9

This topic is an oldie but goodie, at least for me. I’ve written a lot on this topic. I have been doing this one for a few years now and what’s great about it is that it never gets old. It surprised me how many folks are still not aware of all the things you can do with XML Literals in VB. Only about 25% of attendees had used them before (one person had never heard of LINQ before) so I started with the basics and worked my way up into the demos. Here are some good resources to check out:

Taking Advantage of LINQ and Open XML in Office 2007 & 2010

This session I did was a lot of fun and I have done it before here in the Netherlands at SDN last year. I showed how to manipulate Open XML document formats in Office 2010 Word, PowerPoint and Excel documents using the Open XML SDK version 2.0 and LINQ to XML. I think it sparked a lot of people’s curiosity and creativity because there are a lot of possibilities. I showed how you can create, query and transform documents without having to have Office installed at all. A couple people in the audience had not realized that these Office documents were just zip files full of XML files that describe the document. Since the SDK 2.0 had just released a week before, it was relevant to do this talk again. Here are some good resources on this topic:

There are a lot of Office developers in the Netherlands and I had a great time chatting with a fellow afterwards showing him some of the new VSTO and SharePoint tools in Visual Studio 2010 as well. ;-)

Off to Antwerp, Belgium for TechDays


Here I did one session on our new SharePoint developer tools in Visual Studio 2010 so it doesn’t get much more shiny and new than that. The venue was equally impressive here in Antwerp, held at huge IMAX movie theaters called Metropolis. There were also close to 2000 people here both developers and IT Pros. This time my session was in a huge theater with bright spot lights on me, loud music, and a camera in the third row filming and projecting me onto the screen behind. Wow I thought my hair was big, but seeing it on an IMAX screen is a bit scary. ;-)

SharePoint Developer Tools in Visual Studio 2010 Overview

This talk was a variation of Mike Morton’s talk at SharePoint Developer Conference last October except I had some different demos that I think were kinda fun. I showed off the all the awesomeness around building, debugging and deploying SharePoint 2010 customizations with Visual Studio 2010. I showed the Visual Web Part designer, mapped folders, LINQ to SharePoint, Workflow designer with an Initiation form, we created an Event Receiver, walked through the Packaging and Feature designers, Imported a Site Definition (WSP), and deployed a Silverlight Web Part that uses the SharePoint client object model to work with tasks. I even briefly opened up the BDC designer although there was a session on that later in the day so I didn’t really get into it much. It was exciting to show off the tools that my teammates built. I hope I did them justice.

Check out these resources to learn more (and stay tuned for more content Monday!):

Last but not least, here are some pictures from the trip (click to enlarge):
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I had a wonderful time meeting new people and seeing new places in Europe. Thanks to the DevDays & TechDays conference organizers and local developer evangelists, Arie Leeuwesteijn in the Netherlands and Katrien De Graeve in Belgium, for taking great care of us.

See you next time!